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Go Figure  |  Deborah Coe

Doing mission in partnership 

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Presbyterian World Mission is serving all across the world, but it’s not the number of countries or mission coworkers that defines this ministry; it’s the relationships.

If someone asked you, “How does your church do mission?” what would come to mind first? Perhaps you’d envision people doing mission and charity for others in need. That’s certainly the historical model. Over the past few decades, however, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has been shifting its mission focus away from working on behalf of others and toward partnering with others.
The PC(USA) General Assembly still sends missionaries overseas, but their places of service are determined in cooperation with a denomination, congregation, or organization in the other country. There are a variety of other partnerships involving congregations, presbyteries, and synods that work with their counterparts in other parts of the world, exchanging short- and longer-term mission workers and volunteers. In our mission efforts, Presbyterians bring a desire to learn from those with whom we serve, not just so that we can have a greater impact but because we recognize that God has a word to speak to us through them.
How does your congregation partner with others, whether overseas or closer to home? Consider using this column as a springboard for a conversation about doing mission in partnership.
For more information about how Presbyterians are engaging in mission partnerships, go to

Deborah Coe is coordinator of Research Services of the Presbyterian Mission Agency.

See other findings on the Research Services website